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Patient involvement in the decision-making process is a key element for good clinical practice. Few data are available on patient involvement in psychiatry.
To assess in a psychiatric out-patient context how psychiatrists involve patients in therapeutic decisions and to determine the extent to which patient and psychiatrist characteristics contribute to patient involvement.
Eighty transcripts from audiotaped first out-patient consultations, conducted by 16 psychiatrists, were rated with the OPTION (observing patient involvement) scale. Interrater reliability indices were obtained for 30 randomly selected interviews. Associations between OPTION scores and some clinical and socio-demographic variables were tested using t-test, ANOVA and Pearson's correlation coefficient where appropriate. The distribution of scores for each psychiatrist was assessed by intracluster correlation coefficients.
Interrater reliability and internal consistency of the OPTION scale in the psychiatric setting were satisfactory. The total score and the ratings for the single OPTION items showed a skewed distribution, with a prevalence of scores in the low range of abilities, corresponding to minimal attempts to involve patients or a minimal skill level.
The OPTION scale proves to be a reliable instrument to assess patient involvement in a psychiatric setting. Psychiatrists showed poor patient involvement abilities parallel to previous findings in psychiatry and primary care. They need to be encouraged to share treatment decisions with their patients and to apply patient involvement skills. Further research is needed to establish which patient variables and clinical settings in psychiatry are more amenable to shared decisions, and how participation of psychiatric patients in treatment decisions will affect the outcome.
Aims – Evidence from the literature show that patients affected by psychosis rarely are informed about their diagnosis and/or involved in the decision making process regarding the therapeutic program. The aim of the present study is to investigate psychiatrists' clinical experiences, beliefs and attitudes towards communicating the diagnosis to patients affected by psychosis. Method – Three focus groups were conducted with 28 psychiatrists of different levels of expertise (10 senior psychiatrists and 18 psychiatrists in training), all working at the South-Verona Community-based Mental Health Service. The group discussions were audiotaped and transcribed. The authors derived different thematic categories which were used by two raters to classify all contributions of the psychiatrists. Results – The main themes of interest which emerged were: experience with the communication of the diagnosis of psychosis and main communication strategies used; obstacles and personal difficulties in giving such information. Conclusions – In the psychiatric setting the disclosure of the diagnosis of psychosis implies different clinical and ethical issues and is felt as highly problematic. These findings suggest a need of psychiatrists to involve the psychotic patient in the information giving process in order to learn his/her informative needs which are the starting point for individually tailored information.
The authors have no potential conflict of interest related to the subject of the paper. No economic support has been received for this study.
Aim – To present the Italian version of the OPTION (observing patient involvement) rating scale, developed in UK by Elwyn et al. (2005), and its psychometric characteristics, together with some findings when applied on the consultations transcripts of a group of Italian General Practitioners. Methods – The OPTION scale assesses the extent to which clinicians involve patients in decisions and consists of 12 items to be rated on a 5 point scale (from 0 - behaviour not observed to 4 -high standard). The scale was applied to 235 transcripts of audiotaped consultations conducted by 6 male GPs. Interrater and test-retest reliability and internal validity indices were calculated on a subsample of 30 transcripts. Results – The Italian language version of OPTION showed good psychometric properties, similar to those reported for the original version. The ratings obtained for 235 consultations showed for each OPTION item a skewed distribution: the majority of scores (> 70%) were between 0 (behaviour absent) and 2 (minimum skill level). Conclusions – The Italian language version of OPTION seems a reliable instrument to assess patient involvement in primary care settings also in Italy. The clustering of low scores confirms previous findings that clinicians without a specific training obtain very low levels of patient involvement in the decision making process.
Aims – Psychiatric patients often are not informed about their diagnosis and their involvement in the decision making process is rare. Aim of the study was to explore the informative needs of patients with schizophrenia and the knowledge about their illness. Method – Three focus groups were conducted with 25 long-stay patients with the diagnosis of schizophrenia, attending the Mental Health Centre of the South-Verona Community-based Mental Health Service. The group discussions were audiotaped and transcribed. Results – The authors identified 18 different thematic categories which were used by two raters to classify all patient contributions. The interrater reliability was satisfactory. The qualitative analysis evidenced that patients have little knowledge about their illness. Patients had confuse and vague ideas on schizophrenia but their knowledge on drug names, dosages and side effects appeared precise and detailed. Several patients have looked for information in encyclopedias and medical dictionaries. Conclusion – The findings suggest a need of patients affected by schizophrenia for an information exchange with their psychiatrists that takes into account their informative needs, corrects wrong beliefs and actively involves them in therapeutic decisions.